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  • Christine Chumbler
    Malawi Sees Better 1999 LILONGWE, June 6 (Reuters) - Malawi s maize output rose to an estimated 2.5 million tonnes in the 1999/2000 crop year, up from 2.25
    Message 1 of 102 , Jun 6, 2000
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      Malawi Sees Better 1999

      LILONGWE, June 6 (Reuters) - Malawi's maize output rose to an estimated
      2.5 million tonnes in the 1999/2000 crop year, up from 2.25 million tonnes in the
      previous year, the country's president said.

      Malawi and South Africa were the only countries in the 14-nation Southern
      Africa Development Community (SADC) that had a surplus maize crop in 1999,
      according to the U.S. Agency for International Development's Famine Early
      Warning System (FEWS).

      Malawian President Bakili Muluzi attributed the good harvest to a starter pack
      scheme launched two years ago. Under the scheme, smallhold farmers are
      provided with free packs of fertilizer and seed to cover a small plot of land.

      Muluzi told parliament on Monday the country had about 860,000 tonnes of
      maize in its strategic grain reserves.

      The small southern African country needs 1.7 million tonnes of grain annually to
      feed its population.

      Apart from maize, cassava production has more than doubled to 2.78 million
      tonnes in 1999/2000 from 0.89 million tonnes in 1998/99.

      ******

      Media Exposes Violations of Rights of Garbage Collectors

      BLANTYRE, Malawi (PANA) (Panafrican News Agency, June 5, 2000) - In a
      hard-hitting article, a weekend newspaper in Malawi has exposed how garbage
      collectors are treated in a fashion not dissimilar to the garbage they collect.

      According to a lead article in the Weekend Nation, Malawi's major city
      assemblies are guilty of gross violations of human rights of garbage collectors.
      Most of the garbage workers, the paper says, go about moving their filthy,
      mostly rotting, charges with bare hands and bare-feet.

      Most garbage collectors in the commercial capital, Blantyre, and the
      administrative capital, Lilongwe, are seen cleaning public toilets, removing
      garbage and sweeping the streets without gloves, mouth and nose masks or caps
      thereby exposing them to mostly diarrhoea diseases like cholera and chest
      disease like the dreaded tuberculosis.

      A garbage cleaner found struggling with an overflowing rubbish bin Saturday
      said he cannot afford to quit the risky job because, for one, there are no other
      better jobs for him.

      He had on a pair of sandals and a threadbare overall but his hands were
      completely bare despite the bin he was struggling with being overflowing with
      flies and other insects milling over.

      "I know of the health hazard this job has but I have been job-hunting so I simply
      do not have much choice," he told PANA.

      City authorities in both Lilongwe and Blantyre admit their garbage collectors lack
      protective gear but say lack of money prevents the assemblies to buy protective
      clothes.

      Buxton Gobede, director of Cleansing Services for the Blantyre City Assembly,
      said the city has not provided protective clothing to its garbage collectors for
      ages. He, however, blamed these on defaulting city ratepayers.

      "The city assembly is owed over 200 million kwacha (over four million US
      dollars) in default payments," he complained.

      But, according to the Weekend Nation, this argument falls to pieces since the
      same cash-strapped city assembly bought 20 brand new cars for its officials in
      1999.

      The garbage collectors themselves say the issue here was simply that the city
      fathers do not give priority to the safety of the garbage collectors.

      Lilongwe City Assembly Chief Executive Donton Mkandawire, who has just
      taken the job from a stint as a cabinet minister, agreed that money or no money
      protective clothing for workers was a necessity the assemblies should not shelve.

      "We preach cleanliness and good hygiene so it's not good for us to expose our
      own workers to diseases," he told PANA.

      Mkandawire said although the garbage collectors get a risk allowance, the
      money could not be compared to the life- threatening situation they work in.

      Hastings Maloya, a civil rights activist, said it was high time trade unions in
      Malawi rose up to protect the small people most of whom are not even aware of
      their rights.

      "It would be disastrous if - for just one day - the garbage collectors decided to
      stop collecting the garbage. Maybe as the thick stench wafts through the
      squeaky clean living rooms of the rich city authorities they would notice how
      important the garbage cleaner is," he noted.

      *****



      30 Malawian Soldiers For Peacekeeping Training In
      Reunion

      Panafrican News Agency
      June 5, 2000

      LILONGWE, Malawi (PANA) - Malawi has sent 30 soldiers from the parachute
      battalion to attend a weeklong peacekeeping exercise in the Indian Ocean islands
      of Reunion.

      Malawi Army spokesman Col. MacLloyd Chidzalo told PANA Monday the soldiers,
      who left Saturday, will join the exercise - code-named Geranium 2000 - which is
      aimed at planning and conducting of multinational peacekeeping operation.

      Chidzalo said that the Malawians would join others from Botswana, Kenya,
      Mauritius, Mozambique, Reunion, Seychelles, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and
      Zimbabwe.

      "Observers from the European Union, the United Kingdom, Portugal and the United
      States will be joined by representatives from the Southern Africa Development
      Community, the Organisation of African Unity and the International Committee of
      the Red Cross among others," he said.

      President Bakili Muluzi Monday told the opening of the 2000 budget session of
      Parliament that Malawi was committed to participate in peacekeeping efforts in the
      world.

      He cited that Malawi Army officers are currently in the Democratic Republic of
      Congo while an officer is in Kosovo as part of a United Nations mission.

      *****

      Opposition MPs Ignore Call To Boycott Parliament

      Panafrican News Agency
      June 5, 2000
      by Raphael Tenthani

      LILONGWE, Malawi (PANA) - Members of Parliament in Malawi Monday attended
      President Bakili Muluzi's traditional address ahead of the budget session despite
      an earlier threat to boycott the event in Lilongwe.

      After Muluzi had left parliament building, MPs from the ruling United Democratic
      Front (UDF) heckled Heatherwick Ntaba, political secretary of the opposition
      Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and Alliance for Democracy (AFORD) for breaking
      his promise.

      The only opposition MPs conspicuously absent was alliance president Gwanda
      Chakuamba and his deputy Chakufwa Chihana, the AFORD president.

      A subdued Ntaba later said the opposition's presence during Muluzi's speech did
      not mean that they endorsed his victory in the June 1999 presidential election.

      He said the opposition still considered Muluzi as a ruler who was not legitimate.

      "We recognise Muluzi as President of Malawi now because the constitution says
      there shall always be a president. But we have not changed our view that he did
      not win the 1999 elections," he told PANA.

      Ntaba said since the constitution says there shall always be a president in Malawi,
      Muluzi was still president following the 1994 elections until he hands over to
      another one.

      Muluzi, in his 41-page address, touched on the opposition challenge to his
      presidency. In a veiled attack of the court action, Muluzi said it was high time the
      opposition respected the will of the people.

      On the economy, he said that more efforts were needed to uplift the living
      conditions of Malawians.

      "We have made good progress in some areas while in others we have not," he
      said.

      Muluzi decried high bank lending rates that prevented many people from borrowing
      money and the scourge of HIV/AIDS, which he said, was defeating growth efforts.

      He also reiterated his call to fight corruption and called on ministers to back reform
      plans of controlling the budget.

      "Our bottom line is not to spend what we don't have," he said.

      The MPs begin their budget session in earnest Tuesday against a backdrop of a
      falling currency, the Kwacha that has steadily lost its value since tobacco sales
      started 17 April.

      At the beginning of business Monday morning, the Kwacha, which has been
      relatively stable for the past 12 months, lost 13 percent against the US dollar
      fuelling fears of a repeat of the 1998 crash.

      Around 53 Kwacha is required to buy a dollar Monday as compared with 44
      kwacha in May.

      The Kwacha lost 68 percent of its value in August 1998 following an 80 US- dollar
      deficit in the sales of tobacco, Malawi's chief foreign exchange earner.

      Economists say the lukewarm sales of tobacco might not be the only explanation
      for the slide. They say the continued strong showing of the US economy is
      undermining the Kwacha - like many other currencies.
    • kristen cheney
      But good info for my childhoods class which will be doing projects on child labor. Maybe having the info will spur people to change things. I still hold out
      Message 102 of 102 , Aug 24, 2009
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        But good info for my childhoods class which will be doing projects on child labor. Maybe having the info will spur people to change things. I still hold out hope...
         
        How's the home solar project??
         
        KC

        On Mon, Aug 24, 2009 at 9:26 AM, Christine Chumbler <wartpiggy@...> wrote:
         

        Nothing to be proud of here, I'm afraid.
         

        Malawi's child tobacco pickers 'poisoned by nicotine'

        Aug 24 2009 07:05

         
        Children in Malawi who are forced to work as tobacco pickers are exposed to nicotine poisoning equivalent to smoking 50 cigarettes a day, an investigation has found.

        Child labourers as young as five are suffering severe health problems from a daily skin absorption of up to 54mg of dissolved nicotine, according to the international children's organisation Plan.

        Malawian tobacco is found in the blend of almost every cigarette smoked in the West. The low-grade, high-nicotine tobacco is often used as a filler by manufacturers, reflecting a long-term global shift in production.

        Tobacco farms in America declined by 89% between 1954 and 2002. Three-quarters of production has migrated to developing countries, with Malawi the world's fifth biggest producer.

        Seventy percent of its export income comes from tobacco and the country is economically dependent on it.

        Plan cites research showing that Malawi has the highest incidence of child labour in Southern Africa, with 88,9% of five to 14-year-olds working in the agricultural sector. It is estimated that more than 78 000 children work on tobacco estates -- some up to 12 hours a day, many for less than 1p an hour and without protective clothing.

        Plan's researchers invited 44 children from tobacco farms in three districts to take part in a series of workshops. They revealed a catalogue of physical, sexual and emotional abuse and spoke about the need to work to support themselves and their families and pay school fees.

        The children reported common symptoms of green tobacco sickness (GTS), or nicotine poisoning, including severe headaches, abdominal pain, muscle weakness, coughing and breathlessness.

        "Sometimes it feels like you don't have enough breath, you don't have enough oxygen," one child said. "You reach a point where you cannot breathe because of the pain in your chest. Then the blood comes when you vomit. At the end, most of this dies and then you remain with a headache."

        GTS is a common hazard of workers coming into contact with tobacco leaves and absorbing nicotine through their skin, particularly when harvesting. It is made worse by humid and wet conditions, which are prevalent in Malawi, as residual moisture on the leaves helps nicotine to be absorbed quicker.

        Everyday symptoms of GTS are more severe in children than adults as they have not built up a tolerance to nicotine through smoking and because of their physical size. There is a lack of research into the long-term effects of GTS in children, but experts believe that it could seriously impair their development.

        Neal Benowitz, professor of medicine, psychiatry and biopharmaceutical sciences at California University in San Francisco, said: "Numerous animal studies have shown that administration of nicotine during infancy and adolescence produces long-lasting changes in brain structure and function, as well as behavioural changes that are not seen when nicotine is administered to adults.

        "The brain of a child or adolescent is particularly vulnerable to adverse neurobehavioural effects of nicotine exposure."

        Plan called on Malawi's government to enforce existing child labour and protection laws and on plantations to provide safer, fairer working conditions for those children forced to work. It demanded that multinational tobacco companies scrutinise their suppliers far more closely and follow their own corporate responsibility guidelines.

        Macdonald Mumba, Plan Malawi's child rights adviser, said: "This research shows that tobacco estates are exploiting and abusing children who have a right to a safe working environment.

        "Plan is calling for better enforcement of child labour laws and harsher punishment for employers who break them. These children are risking their health for 11p a day." - guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media 2009


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